It has been stated that a man under the control of the organs and objects (Grahas and Atigrahas), which are themselves directed by his merits and demerits, repeatedly takes up and discards the organs and objects and transmigrates. And the perfection of merits has been explained as being concerned with the manifested universe, collective and individual— being the identification with Hiraṇyagarbha in both those aspects. Now the question arises as to whether the entity that transmigrates under the control of the organs and objects exists or does not exist; and if it exists, what it is like. So it is to teach about the Self as a distinct entity that the question of Uṣasta is introduced. If one knows It as unconditioned, naturally free from action and its factors, one is freed from the above-mentioned bondage together with its stimulating causes. The purpose of the story is already known.
अथ हैनमूषस्तश्चाक्रायणः पप्रच्छ; याज्ञवल्क्येति होवाच, यत्साक्शादपरोक्शाद्ब्रह्म, य आत्मा सर्वान्तरः, तं मे व्याचक्श्व इति; एष त आत्मा सर्वान्तरः; कतमो याज्ञवल्क्य सर्वान्तरो ? यः प्राणेन प्राणिति स त आत्मा सर्वान्तरः, योऽपानेनापानिति स त आत्मा सर्वान्तरः, यो व्यानेन व्यानिति स त आत्मा सर्वान्तरः, य उदानेनोदानिति स त आत्मा सर्वान्तरः, एष त आत्मा सर्वान्तरः ॥ २ ॥
atha hainamūṣastaścākrāyaṇaḥ papraccha; yājñavalkyeti hovāca, yatsākśādaparokśādbrahma, ya ātmā sarvāntaraḥ, taṃ me vyācakśva iti; eṣa ta ātmā sarvāntaraḥ; katamo yājñavalkya sarvāntaro ? yaḥ prāṇena prāṇiti sa ta ātmā sarvāntaraḥ, yo’pānenāpāniti sa ta ātmā sarvāntaraḥ, yo vyānena vyāniti sa ta ātmā sarvāntaraḥ, ya udānenodāniti sa ta ātmā sarvāntaraḥ, eṣa ta ātmā sarvāntaraḥ || 1 ||
1. Then Uṣasta, the son of Cakra, asked him. ‘Yājñavalkya,’ said he, ‘explain to me the Brahman that is immediate and direct—the self that is within all.’ ‘This is your self that is within all.’ ‘Which is within all, Yājñavalkya?’ ‘That which breathes through the Prāṇa is your self that is within all. That which moves downwards through the Apāna is your, self that is within all. That which pervades through the Vyāna is your self that is within all. That which goes out through the Udāna is your self that is within all. This is your self that is within all.’
Then Uṣasta, the son of Cakra, asked him, Yājñavalkya, who has already been introduced. The Brahman that is immediate, not obstructed from the seer or subject by anything, and direct, not used in a figurative sense, like the ear and so forth, which are considered to be Brahman. What is that? The self that is within all. The word ‘self’ refers to the inner (individual) self, that being the accepted meaning of the term. The words ‘Yat’ and ‘Yah’ indicate that the self familiar to all is identical with Brahman. Explain that self to me, tell about it clearly, as one shows a cow by taking hold of its horns, as much as to say,’ ‘This is it.’
Thus addressed, Yājñavalkya replied, ‘This is your self that is within all.’ The qualification ‘that is within all’ is suggestive of all qualifications whatsoever. That which is ‘immediate’ or unobstructed, and ‘direct’ or used in its primary sense, and which is ‘Brahman’ or the vastest, the self of all and within all—all these specifications refer to the self. ‘What is this self of yours?’ ‘That by which your body and organs are ensouled is your self, i.e. the self of the body and organs.’ ‘There is first the body; within it is the subtle body consisting of the organs; and the third is that whose existence is being doubted. Which of these do you mean as my self that is within all?’ Thus spoken to, Yājñavalkya said, ‘That which breathes (lit. does the function of the Prāṇa) through the Prāṇa, which operates in the mouth and nose, in other words, “which makes the Prāṇa breathe” (Ke. L 9), is your self, i.e. the individual self of the body and organs.’ The rest is similar in meaning. That which moves downwards through the Apāna, Which pervades through the Vyāna—the long i in the two verbs is a Vedic licence—by which the body and organs are made to breathe and do other functions, like a wooden puppet. Unless they are operated by an intelligent principle, they cannot do any function such as breathing, as is the case with the wooden puppet. Therefore it is by being operated by the individual self, which is distinct from them, that they breathe and do other functions, as does the puppet. Hence that principle distinct from the body and organs exists which makes them function.